Comedian Brightens the Shadowed Lives of Foreign Migrant Workers
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Comedian Brightens the Shadowed Lives of Foreign Migrant Workers
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  • 승인 2005.03.02 00:00
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"What on earth is this?" he sighs, frowning. "Sir, this is unfair." These lines have become famous because they always end the comedy scenes of Blanca (Chung Chul-kyoo, 26) when he plays the role of a Sri Lankan migrant worker in the stand-up comedy show Pokso Club on KBS. Blanca himself became well-known for mocking the general follies of the Korean society and especially for his witty portrayals of the gloomy lives many foreign migrant workers face in Korea.
Blanca had the chance to observe the mistreatment that migrant workers receive when he worked in the industrial sector in lieu of military service about three years ago. "Many of the company staff employees would hit the workers without a sense of guilt," he says. It was Blanca's encounter with this situation that gave him the idea to create a comedy from a migrant worker? point of view and to realize his childhood dream of becoming a comedian.
   In addition to drawing attention to the migrant worker's plight, Blanca has actively participated in many organizations and events to better their lives. He is currently the Public Relations Ambassador for the Joint Committee for Migrant Workers in Korea and appeared on a Christian Broadcasting System radio program that aimed to expose to the general public the poor conditions that the laborers were working under. At the Seongdong Migrant Worker's Center Blanca has helped patients be diagnosed and treated by a physician with 30 other volunteer workers. Also, in November last year, he held a concert with singer Lee Eun-mi to raise funds for the establishment of a welfare hall that will be used by foreign migrant workers living in the Dae-jeon area.
   Blanca says his greatest sense of fulfillment of speaking out for foreign migrant workers came when an Indonesian laborer sent him a cyber message stating how much he appreciates Blanca's comedy skit. Blanca states that there are not many college students who take part in volunteer work for migrant workers. "We need university students to volunteer and work with the workers, and it is not just material support that is imperative to these lonely souls. Warm affection and having a pal to simply chat with are things they also crave." Blanca also enjoys playing soccer with the migrant workers.
   Lee Ji-eun (Int? Studies, 2) who volunteers at the Sungnam Migrant Worker's House notes that university students do not need special training as counselors to become close and aid the migrant workers. Lee adds that some student volunteers teach Korean to migrant workers and learn their native languages. ?e sing with them, listen to their nostalgic stories about their hometown, and decorate their living environment to give them a brighter ambience, says Lee.

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